Governor taps Romero for economic development post

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenJanuary 19, 2011
Gov. John Hickenlooper has tapped Dwayne Romero as the new director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“Dwayne Romero knows how to create jobs and lead organizations,” Hickenlooper said in a news release. “He helped stabilize and build successful businesses in the Colorado mountains, most recently in Snowmass Village. Dwayne has the necessary leadership training and business management experiences to promote economic development in Colorado and beyond its borders.”
Dwayne Romero

Romero is an Aspen City Councilman and the president of the Snowmass arm of Related Cos., a New York-based international real estate development and investment firm. Related is the developer of the new village at the base of Snowmass that, dogged by foreclosure proceedings and high-stakes litigation, the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed “one of the worst wipe-outs in U.S. ski country.”

A graduate of West Point and Harvard Business School, Romero, 45, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Mountain Chalet, the Snowmass Inn, the Snowmass Mall and the Snowmass Center. He joined Related's office in Snowmass as the COO in 2008 and became president in 2009.

Smart and personable, Romero was elected as an Aspen city councilman in 2007. His term expires in June. After ruling out a bid for reelection as a councilman, he recently indicated he was thinking of running for mayor. It is unlikely he will have time for that now. Romero also recently turned down a nomination to become the chairman of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

Born in Texas, Romero graduated from West Point as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He went on to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, clearing mine fields in the first Persian Gulf War.

Romero ended his career in the Army in 1994. He soon came to Colorado and worked for Aspen homeowner Gerald Hines. Romero helped Hines develop the base of Aspen Highlands, where many businesses have since failed.

After developing the base at Aspen Highlands, Romero helped construct the Obermeyer Place mixed-use development in Aspen. He later launched development management company Steeplechase Partners before dissolving his interest in the business when he took his position with Related.

Outside of business and politics, Romero has been heavily involved in the community in other ways. He is on the board of directors for the Aspen Fire Protection District, and is a past president of Roaring Fork Leadership and the Aspen Historical Society. Additionally he is a former board director and current member of the Aspen Rotary Club.

Now the Aspen resident will expand his reach beyond the valley and try to recruit businesses to Colorado and foster the growth of the ones that are already here.

“I’m thrilled to take on this role. Gov. Hickenlooper is putting together a team that crosses party lines and sets a positive and constructive tone as we focus on improving the climate for creating new jobs and economic growth,” said Romero, who is expected to resign his seat on city council soon but stay with Related in a reduced roll. “I look forward to connecting with communities around our state as we create this ‘bottom-up’ economic development plan.”

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